Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Birtherism is camouflaged racism.

The Christian Science Monitor  says that the most famous promoter of birtherism – the assertion that Barack Obama wasn’t really born in the United States and therefore is ineligible to be president – faces a growing backlash from those who see the whole birther movement as an “insidious new form of 21st-century racism,” as Clarence B. Jones, scholar in residence at Stanford University, put it the other day on Huffington Post.

Birtherism is nothing more than thinly veiled racisim (well, maybe not so thinly veiled). They are a group of people who simply cannot face seeing an African American in the White House. They haven't the courage, or maybe  too cagey (I cannot bring myself to use the word smart), to revert to the argot of the Klan of the last century. In 1960, they would have put up billboards saying things like "We don't serve niggers in the White House."  I know these people.  

Shortly after my discharge in 1952, I was hired as a cop by the Anaheim Police Department. From that day forward, most of my friends were cops. I love cops. They are the best people in the world except for their attitudes about blacks; pure irrational hatred for the most part and they were part of a huge percentage of the population. I still wasn’t very political but I became more vocal in defending them when the civil rights movement developed.  We had some heated discussions in the station house and in the local watering holes.

After the civil rights bill was passed the schools and neighborhoods were gradually integrated, people got to know them, made friends with them, played ball with them and married them. Racism, at least as it existed before, phased out and those who were unable to make the adjustment were outnumbered and learned that if they were too vociferous, they would be isolated. But their hatred continued to simmer down deep.

But we have entered into a new phase. We learned to accept our next door neighbor being black, the mixed marriages, seeing a black doctor and, in the south, letting them ride in the front of the bus. We grew to love, even worship in a sense, the black athletes who play on “our” teams. Most of us, at least more than 50% of us are even ready to have a black President; but not all.

The thin veneer of decency and tolerance of a relatively small group of our citizenry has been overcome by their reemerging and now un-controlled hatred. These people have taken over the Republican Party and have become irrationally vocal. You saw them at the Town Hall meetings where they completely blocked any dialogue.

They have kept their racism and hatred below the surface for the past thirty years or so because blatant racism became unpopular. Now the election of an African American president has brought it back to the surface. They are so blind with rage, they no longer care what decent people think. They have retreated into their own ideological commune; unfortunately, they have pulled the bulk or a large share of the once honorable republican party along with them. Of course there has always been the animosity between the right and the left that had nothing to do with race. But the re-emergence of racism has intensified that as well. Politics has become ugly and has to a large extent grown to define friendships. I can remember when you were more likely to get into a shouting match over whether your Ford was better than his Chevy than over who was running for president.

An example of this hatred can be seen in the opposition to Obama’s programs – particularly health care reform. Of course rational opposition to the health care reform that has just become law can exist. But there has been no rational debate. The opposition, aware that the status quo is not defendable, at least as it relates to the vast majority of Americans who don’t own insurance companies or who earn less than $250,000 per year, have resorted to mendacity, pure lies on the extreme, and distortion as a minimum.  The opposition has been fueled by hatred not logic and has resulted in the so called Tea Party. They are a potpourri of opposition and hatred.  The most visible thread of commonality is their hatred of Obama. And now this thread has become a rope with the willingness of the republican presidential candidate to go to bed with them and the rope is pulling in billions of dollars from those like the Koch brothers - thanks to Citizens United

Look for the most vitriolic and fact starved campaign in the nation's history!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why I won't vote for Romney

Voting against Romney just because he is a Mormon is almost as senseless as voting for him just because he is a Mormon. I am a Mormon and I will do neither.

I disapprove of anyone who assaults a fellow student because he doesn't like his hair cut or his assumed chosen sexual orientation. Shame on him but he did that as a teenager and I'm sure he was sorry after he did it. That would not influence my vote.  Strapping a dog to the roof of the family car for a long trip was insensitive and, for an animal lover like me, disgusting.  But that wouldn't make me vote against him.  The dog was not harmed. I don't like the way he earned his billions at Bain Capital.  It was nothing more than ruthless capitalistic greed.  Ruthless capitalistic greed is what drives global capitalism, as it exists today.  He was good at it. And, while I am disappointed in a Mormon capitalizing on the misery of others - that is not what my Church is about - that, alone, would not make me vote against him. Mitt Romney is a good man. In my opinion, you don't rise to the position in the Church that he has if you are NOT a good person but I embarrassed from his apparent reticence to admit that he is a Mormon, or at least, to defuse it for the benefit of his new found members, the Christian right. He referred to himself as a Pastor. In fact, he was a Bishop and a Stake President. As an active Mormon who feels very good about my religion, I am struggling to understand why he defers to a title used by other religions. I find it disingenuous and offensive.

I am also upset at his agreeing with  Mike Huckabee that life begins at conception. The LDS position as stated in scripture is that life begins with the first breath.

I worry that Mitt Romney was expressing his sincere feelings when he dismisses the importance of 47% of the American people. I won't vote for Romney because of that and because he is misrepresenting our religion in making  many compromises with the politically  powerful evangelical block; but because he trusts business more than government in solving the problems of working class people and because he favors tax policies that have concentrated too much money in the hands of too few.  His proposed policies have a track record of failure. Today, nothing is more important than creating jobs. Bain Capital didn't do it, Bush tax policies didn't do it and the Ryan budget, which Romney has endorsed won't do it.

I read th

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Winning the battle and losing the war - same sex marriage

Winning the battle and losing the war!

The gays and lesbians have won the battle but may have lost the war. I hope they savor their temporary warm fuzzy. By forcing Obama to publicly favor legalization of same sex marriage, they have probably assured a Romney win in November.

I am a liberal and I think my position on this issue is typical of many Christian liberals. I think a person’s sexual orientation is personal and should not be the basis for decision making on hiring, serving in the military or any other public service. I think it is wrong to discriminate on anyone because they are gay or lesbian. But this doesn’t mean I do not have the right to feel that what they do in a same-sex sexual relationship is normal.  I believe God made men and women different to carry out His plan for propagation and providing us with a testing ground for mortal behavior and spiritual assignment. To carry out this plan He has created our bodies with attributes, physical, chemical and emotional, that would cause us to populate the earth.

To regulate this activity, He provided rules of conduct that were made known to us through prophets who have articulated His rules. These rules have established the concept of family and marriage. Family and marriage began, theists believe, with Adam and Eve. For 2000 years these rules have been accepted as normal by most people…even those who don’t accept His divinity.  The institution of family, established by religion, has been codified to protect women and children for the most part.  Rules of marriage have been universally accepted and violations have become both crime and sin – failure to provide for children is a crime and extra-marital relations have become a sin; in some states, a crime.

For reason known only to God, Probably to test us, He permits things to happen that interrupt the smooth operation of His plan. Homosexuality is one of those aberrations. Some people are born with a genetic make-up that produces a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex. Scientists have proven that this is so. Conflict arose initially because of our failure to accept their situation as uncontrollable and by uncontrolled meanness by some in punishing them; mostly by ostracism but sometimes by punishment ranging from job discrimination, denial of civil rights and physical abuse. Those of us my age remember the treatment of “queers” and “dikes.”  Most led a miserable life of hiding, terrified of exposure.

Over recent years, thanks to courageous gays and lesbians, abetted by some, mostly liberal, straights with a Christian conscience, they have escaped from the closet; slowly and one step at a time. The biggest step was the recent acceptance of their serving in the military (still resisted by many). Now they are fighting for the “right” of marriage to each other – same-sex marriage and it is a political battle. Now, it appears to me, having arrived, as it were, they are drunk with their power and are so immersed in their own discomfort that they are willing to risk the welfare of the rest of the country in order to elevate their comfort level.

It’s true that the concern of religious entities, Christian and non-Christian are based on pure hatred on the part of some and irrational fear by most. They see same sex marriage as a threat to traditional marriage. This is unsupportable.  The number of couples living together in a union, whatever it is called, will not change with or without the aegis of a civil ceremony and “marriage certificate.” Some say it is the sanctity of marriage with which they are concerned but the structure and quality of my neighbor’s relationship really has no relationship to mine. The real threats to the traditional marriage, and the ones with which religions should be addressing are drunkenness, infidelity, poverty, child and spousal abuse and access to health care.  These are the real threat to families today.  Ironically, most of the churches who are declaring their alarm with the threat of same-sex marriage could have some positive impact of a few of these problems – and are addressing them – but are helpless against other and are opposed to the politicians who could have a positive impact on things like poverty and access to health care.

Personally, I am not concerned with same-sex marriage and don’t believe it should be in the political arena where it will diffuse the attention that should be directed toward real problems.  I believe couples should be protected by the law in their relationship regardless of what they call their certificate. But marriage, true marriage as we know it from 2000 years of experience is between a man and a woman.  God knows this and nothing a mortal can say in a ceremony or write on a certificate can change this.

I am disappointed in the proponents as well of opponents of same-sex marriage for diverting their attention away from the real problems we face. I am particularly disappointed in gays and lesbians for using the divisiveness and volatility of today’s political environment to accomplish an ego problem.  They are not satisfied with the advantages that liberals in government have provided them with the civil union concept; they want to force us to accept what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms as normal by calling their relationship by a time accepted name.  You have a right to privacy; I have a right to my opinion of what is normal and what is abnormal sexual interaction. By giving this election to the Teaparty group, you may very well find yourselves back on the starting blocks in November.